August 5 – Ottawa (Rockcliffe) to Brantford, Ontario

The morning weather had changed significantly with mostly clear skies and some fair weather cumulus clouds.

After a good weather briefing we departed Rockcliffe airport flying  VFR to the village of Cumberland, just 12 miles down the Ottawa River. We lived there for five years so it seemed like a good idea to take a look at the neighbourhood and the house where we used to live. The new owners have added a pool; that sure would have been nice during the hot Ontario summers.

ForeFlight showed a much better picture than yesterday.

We filed IFR at 10,000 feet to Brantford. The cloud tops were at 6,000 feet later increasing to 8,000 feet so we were in the clear but there was a 25 knot headwind.

After passing Toronto ATC cleared us down to 3,000 feet and were bouncing around below the base of the clouds. 

Rocking and rolling on the approach to Brantford with strong gusty surface winds making the approach and landing challenging. We appreciated our earlier practice at Abbotsford on windy days.

Tied down at Brantford for a couple of days visiting family.

 

August 4 – Weather Delay in Ottawa

The afternoon weather in Ottawa seemed like a normal hazy summer day, with sunshine and lots of cumulus clouds. However, the situation in southern Ontario and at our destination in Brantford was quite different. A major system  was moving across the Great Lakes with heavy rain, strong winds, hail and lots of lightning. I called Flight Service for a weather briefing and considered going to Kingston. However, after hearing of a tornado watch in the area the decision was easy to stay on the ground. This gave us the opportunity to spend a little more time in Ottawa.

After checking in to the Lord Elgin we visited the National War Memorial, viewed the locks at the Rideau Canal and strolled through the elegant Chateau Laurier Hotel.

 

Later while having dinner the winds picked up quite a bit and it started to rain; the storm from southern Ontario was now reaching Ottawa.

August 4 – Parliament Buildings of Canada in Ottawa

We made it to Parliament Hill. After visiting the ten provincial capitals and their legislature buildings for a photo with our Canada Flag we flew to Ottawa to visit the National Capital. Our photo was taken by a Parks Canada Ranger with the Canada Flag that has just traveled across the country in the last month.

Mission Accomplished!

Rather than going in the main entrance, we went to the side entrance for the Senate. The security guards were expecting us with passes pre-printed with our names. We felt kind of special. A nice young woman kindly escorted us to the Office of the Speaker of the Senate to meet with the Chief of Staff, Mr. Stuart Barnable for our appointment at 10:30. This wonderful reception had been arranged by, David, the son of the Speaker whom we had met in the hotel in St. John’s.

Mr. Barnable welcomed us and provided an overview of his office and the buildings on Parliament Hill. He was very proud to show us a small wooden box containing the Canada Flag that had flow atop the Peace Tower on Canada Day, July 1st. Look back now I should have taken a photo with that flag and our flag that had just completed its journey across the country.

Then it was a VIP guided tour of the Parliament Buildings with one of Mr. Barnable’s Special Assistants, Jeremie. He provide a great tour and wonderful insights  at the Senate, then the House of Commons, the Library, up the Peace Tower to see the clock, then finally the Memorial Chamber, the chamber respecting Canadian losses in military conflicts.

Directly behind the flag is the seat for the Speaker of the Senate. Behind the Speaker is the tallest chair for the reigning Monarch and then their spouse.

The House of Commons is much less elaborate than the Senate. 

Jeremie was a great help getting around the Parliament Building and past all the visitors waiting in line. We felt very special.

Jeremie pointed out features that we would have missed otherwise. In the photo above are paintings that depict the last two Monarchs and above them on the upper gallery are paintings of their respective spouses.

The Library.

 

We are near the top of the Peace Tower and the mechanism for the clock.

In the Peace Tower, on the Mezzanine floor is located the Memorial Chamber. This Chamber is dedicated to the Canadians fallen in battle throughout Canada’s history. The book above lists airmen who gave their all. It includes the names of two airmen named Leroux. One I believe was my father’s first cousin, and I am unsure of the other.

 

August 3 – Canada Aviation and Space Museum

One of our most anticipated planned stops was to visit the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa. Kevin Psutka kindly provided transportation and was our personal guide in the museum. Kevin was the previous president of t the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association and for several years provided leadership for that great organization.

Here’s a sampling of the many aircraft on display:

Avro Arrow
I couldn’t resist having a photo since the aircraft carries my initials.

 

Avro Lancaster Bomber
I first saw this aircraft in 1968 when I was here with the Air Cadets.

de Havilland Beaver
Here is a remarkable Canadian aviation icon; the de Havilland Beaver Serial Number 1. I flew this type of aircraft on amphibious floats when I was with Transport Canada in Vancouver.

MacDonald Douglas CF-101 Voodoo
Kevin was in the Canadian Armed Forces as a fighter pilot and he flew this very CF-101 on operations.

Douglas DC-3
When we lived in Ottawa my son, Chris, was in Cubs and for one of their outings we bicycled to the museum along the Ottawa River Parkway. There were various fun activities, we watched an aviation movie then slept overnight in the museum. We could pick any place for our sleeping bags so we chose under the wing of this aircraft. It was a real fun experience for a bunch of little boys.

 

August 3 – Fredericton to Ottawa, Ontario (Rockcliffe) – RCMP Stables

On the way to the Fredericton airport this morning we made a diversion to the Legislature Building for a photo with the Canada Flag. Again, the photo was kindly taken by our taxi driver. There had been a “technical glitch” with one of my SD memory cards so this was a retake.

 

 The weather was marginal VFR with some broken to overcast conditions along the way so we were again IFR at 8,000 feet. The conditions in the Ottawa area were 2,000 feet broken and since Rockcliffe does not have an instrument approach procedure we flew the Ottawa RNAV (GNSS) RWY 32 approach. When we brok out at around 2,000 feet I cancelled IFR and proceeded to Rockcliffe VFR.

 Waiting to greet us was a friend and colleague from my days in Ottawa at Transport Canada and more recently from the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA), Kevin Psutka. Kevin was the previous President of COPA and he became our guide and host for a couple of days. Thanks Kevin.

After lunch with Kevin it was on to the RCMP Stables to see where the horses for the Musical Ride call home.

 

It is likely not well known but there is an interesting museum at the stables.

 

The groomers and riders are regular RCMP officers and most have very little or no horse experience. 

 I couldn’t resist a photo when I saw the name of this horse. 

 All chores are done by the RCMP officers including cleaning the boots after being in horse *&%$. 

 They didn’t want me to take a photo of the horses faces just in case they are used on covert operations and need to remain incognito.

 

August 2 – Confederation Building in St. John’s then to Charlottetown and Fredericton

The early morning was not too much better than yesterday. Yesterday, the issue was frontal weather and thunder storms, and today the issue was air mass weather with a northeast wind off the Atlantic Ocean giving very low clouds and very limited visibility. 

We had planned to fly north along the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland to St. Anthony then cross the Strait of Belle Isle to Blanc-Sablon in Quebec. From there we planned to fly along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River to Sept-Iles. That routing wasn’t very favorable today. The weather was improving to the south so we decided to return the same way we had come.
(After all, we had “come from away”.)

So, our departure was delayed by several hours.

On the way to the airport we visited the Newfoundland Confederation Building and met with the Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry, and Innovation. We had a 09:30 appointment and the Minister greeted us at the main entrance then gave us a VIP in-depth tour of the House of Assembly. 

Our photos of the Canada Flag in the Legislature were kindly taken by our taxi driver.

The Royal Newfound Regiment has been in existence in one form or another for over 200 years. The Regiment fought in World War I at the Battle of the Somme and was all but wiped out.  On July 1, 1916, of the 780 men who went forward only about 110 survived unscathed, of whom only 68 were available for roll call the following day.

The Newfound Legislature was quite impressive and I noted several items recognizing the indigenous people of the land.

 

The weather had improved enough by noon for a safe departure so I filed IFR at 8,000 feet St. John’s to Charlottetown. We were on top by 6,000 feet in the clear blue sky. As we flew westward along the southern shore of Newfoundland the clouds below us began to break up and by Port-aux-Basques the sky was clear.

For the over water portion to Charlottetown it was up to 10,000 feet to give us better “options”.

On the 60 nautical mile leg from Port-aux-Basques to Cape Breton Island we were within gliding distance of St. Paul Island some of the time. About 10 to 15 minutes from either side we were not within gliding distance from land.

There really isn’t much to St. Paul Island; but it does offer an option, only if just to find a dry place rather than being in the cold water.

In Charlottetown we had a quick lunch, refuelled, then departed for an uneventful flight to Fredericton at 8,500 feet in very good smooth VFR conditions.

 

August 1 – Weather Delay in St. John’s – Matthew Pike

We have been in St. John’s for a few days and have seen lots of interesting things and met a lot of interesting people so it’s time to move on, heading for Ottawa. Today started off with a careful check of the weather; not good. A weather system is moving across Newfoundland so we decided to spend another day in town. This gave us time to take care of some logistics, such as having business cards printed for NavPath and for our Canada 150 Anniversary Flight, and working on the Blog.

 

Valerie and I were sitting in the lounge at the Delta Hotel where we are staying when a nice young man, David, stopped by for a chat. It turned out that David works at the concierge at the hotel.  When he heard our story about flying across the country and our Canada Flag he wrote down our contact information telling us that he would get back to us with some interesting arrangements. Interesting indeed, as he had arranged for a meeting the next day with the Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Newfoundland Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation at the Newfoundland legislature, the Confederation Building. Now that’s amazing. But wait, there’s more!

David’s father is a politician in Ottawa, the Speaker of the Senate, the Honourable George J. Furey. Dave informed his father’s office of our planned visit to Ottawa and Parliament Hill on our return westward. His father will not be in Ottawa when we get there, however, his father’s Chief of Staff is expecting us to contact them on arrival in Ottawa in a couple of days.

We had dipped our Canada Flag in the water in Victoria Harbour on July 1st at the beginning of our journey, so now in St. John’s on August 1st at the end of the journey, it was time to dip the flag in the water in St. John’s Harbour. 

David suggested that we should go to a small park on the harbour front to visit the Terry Fox Memorial where we could access the water. This marks the spot where Terry dipped his foot in the Atlantic Ocean and began his run across Canada, The Marathon of Hope, to raise cancer awareness and funds for cancer research. Sadly, Terry never made it to Vancouver and the Pacific Ocean.

We walked to the park but were not able to access the water, however, we had a very pleasant surprise. There was a group of people gathered at the Terry Fox memorial, surounding a young man with a bicycle. This man, Matthew Pike, from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, had just completed a bike ride across Canada, beginning in Vancouver on June 6th. Matthew was riding to raise funds for the Children’s Wish Foundation, in recognition of his cousin, Craig, who lost his battle with  Spina Bifida a few years ago. 

From left: Stan Pike (Craig Pike’s father), Matthew Pike, Lyndon Pike (Matthew’s brother), Murray Pike (Matthew’s father) and in front is Mabel Hancock (Craig’s mother).

Details of his journey are available at: http://www.thelabradorian.ca/living/happy-valley-goose-bay-man-completes-bike-ride-across-country-28259/

We were introduced to Matthew and Craig’s mother and told them of our journey across Canada.

Matthew was very interested about the flying and asked several questions about our airplane. It turns out that his father worked at the Goose Bay airport and Matthew grew up around airplanes.

I was very pleased when Matthew asked to have a photo with our Canada Flag.

Today, August 1st would have been Craig’s birthday. It became somewhat emotional when Craig’s mother began to sing Happy Birthday.

So it was a truly interesting and amazing day indeed.

Tomorrow we fly!